Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 268 - The Safety in Praying - MNF

Sometimes it takes me a while to get the "Ohhhhhh" aha moment.  I was one of the crazy few fans who was an original Jacksonville Jaguars Season Ticket Holder.  I loved the seats, seven rows behind the end zone in the corner.  Unfortunately with the economy, we just couldn't continue to afford the luxury.  So when we took Gabriele and Malte for their very first American football (not futbol - aka soccer) game, not only were they blessed enough to be able to go, they were blessed to attend a Monday Night Football Game!  Many Americans NEVER get this opportunity!

I explained our tradition of tailgating and sucking on blue lollipops and touching the tongue of Touchdown our Jaguar statue in front of the Stadium.  I wanted them to experience it like Americans, not just visitors.  So we stayed the entire game.  Both Malte and Gabriele were surprised that Football in America is not JUST football!  It is entertainment.  From the time the gates open, you are given free flags and items and chances to win MORE items.  They were surprised to see fans of opposing teams sitting beside each other without plexi-glass to separate their madness.

AT halftime, we got to turn on the blue lights in our flags and the stadium lights were dimmed.  The lights matched the color of our tongues! Teal for the Jaguars.  They saw our team mascot Jackson de Ville enter the field from 50 feet above the air sky-jumping onto the field with his crazy self!  They learned many things.  At one point when the opposing team was in their own end zone, we started making the sign for a safety.  You know the two hands put together over your head and Malte asked if we were praying!  What a great question, it had been a long time since the Jaguars have played well and praying surely could help.  I explained this was the sign of play that awarded us two points called a safety. 

I'm sure there is something to this, safety in prayer.  No magic fireworks, no blue lights, no blue tongues, no mascots, just two points: 1) its the right thing to do and 2) a connection that needs no fancy communication or lights.  This only a winning proposition. It worked on MNF - Monday Night Football, the Jaguars won and shut down the Ravens rushing game to only 34 yards for the entire game! MNF - Most Need Father....God

Beads, Blue Tongues and Blue Light Flags

Go Jaguars



Touch his tongue for good luck

He's hungry for some Ravens!

The view from up above

Gabriele and Malte with their hats

Go Jaguars!

Jaxon de Ville upon ENTRY!

The singing of our National Anthem

Crazy Pirate fans!

Blue LIghts


Day 267 - An Ocean - Tie Dye Style!

When Gabriele came, he taught me a saying, that if you keeping adding drops to a body of water, it eventually becomes an ocean.  It is so true.  How did my grape collection start with a mug and a few items from my time at North East High School with a grape picker mascot turn into a kitchen filled with over 300 grape motif items that have spilled into the living room, dining room and front reading room?  One drop at a time I guess.

So it is the same with my bucket list.  We attempted two times in the past week to check of attending a "corn maze" and after driving over thirty miles into the country, the first time they were closed to rain and the second time they were closed to...well just closed.  So that drop contained no water.  So the boys have helped me conquer another item on the list however.  Making tie dye shirts!  I had first attempted this two years ago with Felipe and Jula but when we got a letter stating that the items we had ordered to complete the task were no longer available. Figures they were being sent from China.

As I've said before, I BELIEVE I was going to find what I "needed" not what I "wanted" at yard sales.  I finally found a brand new tie dye kit for $1.  This lady also gave me a box of buttons and decoration items when she found out I had made the bras for Breast Cancer for free as well!  So it is, Felipe wanted a bat, he got it at a yard sale.  Gabriele wanted a NY Yankees hat, we got it at a yard sale.  We got our shirts free from JCPenneys to make the tie dye shirts as they had sent me a $10 coupon to use on anything.  The shirts were $7.

So I leave you with photos of our adventure and look forward to getting lost in a corn maze and riding a train through the Autumn colored leaves someday. (Tie Dye on the train track!)  I guess one drop at a time...the ocean will be filled eventually.   I BELIEVE it will. And belief for me is like the dye in the shirts, it is soaked up by the untouched and left more colorful and forever changed.  Be like a drop of dye, and create your own ocean of positive influence.  It is the right thing to do and I believe you will!

Gabriele the Expert!

Taking off the rubber bands

Ta daah!!  Thank you Gabriele and Malte!

Start with White shirts or any other color you choose.

Add die in pattern predetermined.

The die will bleed so you need to set it outside

It all starts with a great plan!

Tie Dye on the Highway

Tie dye on the highway - see the garlands in your hair
If you’re going my way, come along
What a beautiful sky - we just had to stop and stare
See the beautiful colours fill the air
(Oh, just the messengers of peace)
Oh, do you remember - across the burning years
Sweet smell of the mystery I recall
Hang me on Miguel - a smile through all my fears
O high Olympus, touch our soul
With the messengers of peace and the company of love
All the passion and release, and love from up above
Say you will come back with me - say you will come back
Tie dye on the highway - the wheels still turn around
Dance to the mariachi - take my hand
Hope springs eternal when laughter’s feeling sound
Move in the mystic wasted land
With the messenger of peace and the company of love
All the passion and release, and love from up above
(You know that it is true)
From the desert in my art, where the innocent may love
All the passions they release, and the love from up above
Say you will come back with me - say you will come back
Say you will come back with me - say you will come back

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day 266 - The Six Minute Theory

With close to three thousand basketball games under my belt, I have this theory.  I believe that we are really "on the ball" as officials at the beginning of the game, and at the end of the game.  The first half is usually pretty well focused as well.  But it is the around the six minute mark of any last period, half or quarter of a game that "shit happens."  I believe this is due to letting our guard down because we are losing focus.  At the end of the game, it is clear why we have to keep precision focus.

I've tested this theory on stories that people tell me about games that they have officiated.  And for the most part, it is pretty valid.  We just lose focus and we have to tell ourselves to stay focused in order to do so during this time period.  If a fight breaks out, it is usually around this time marker.  What haven't we paid attention to?  I've only had one fight in one of my games and I never even saw it happen.  It happened however in front of my partner who turned around and ran away from it as did all the players.  I was left stunned because I thought I heard a whistle.  So I stopped.  Nobody else did, when I realized I had to now get caught up to the rest of the players and my partner, I saw a coach walk RIGHT INTO THE MIDDLE OF OUR GAME.

Then came the other coach, both were coming across the floor to break up a fight between their players.  The player who got punched had a concerned coach and rightfully so started yelling at my partner.  My partner in turn (or crime as the case may be) turned to him and gave him a technical.  This was a summer league game for a national title.  In college the coaches are allowed to come onto the court to prevent a fight.  I like this rule.  But by rule in this league (high school) they were assessed a technical.  So not only did we miss the fight, we added salt to the wound of the coach and gave him a penalty of awarding the other team two shots.

After the game a man came up from the team from Maryland.  He said that he was an official and asked why we didn't ask one of the parents for the video camera so that we could "review the play?"  I explained that we were following the FHSAA rules of Florida and we were not permitted to do so.  There are times when I just felt like the rules don't help officials.  That was actually a great suggestion and one I wanted to so badly to follow.  And although I was by the book on so many other things, I still ended up kicking a rule in that game.  Instead of giving the ball back to the team that was the victim of the fighter of the other team, we were "by rule" supposed to give the ball back to the team that started the fight.  This all due to my partner assessing a technical foul to that coach.

So I did the right thing in spirit and the wrong thing by rule.  It was my only fight, never had one again, I learned from that one time with six minutes left on the clock in the fourth quarter.  Always keep focused.  Don't ever let your guard down.  ESPECIALLY when you're near the end but the end is not quite in sight yet.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 265 - Building Sand Castles - Sand of Art Brevard Florida

I'm still working on my bucket list.  I have always wanted to attend a Sand Castle competition.  I'm still working on riding on a train through the Autumn Trees, but that will come with time someday.  I got to check off the Sand castle wish and just leave you with the photos to prove it.  This was an international competition with artists from Japan, Italy, Netherlands, etc.  Enjoy.  And sometimes the right thing to do is to enjoy building sand castles in the sky if we aren't close enough to the beach.  I wish you are able to do the same some day.
Ahhhh American Baseball

An Artist working on Zeus

A Circus

Circus in Town

An Italian in front of an Italian Sand castle

A lady, a lion and a boar or two


The moon from the Earth

The moon from space


Native American Sand Castle

A Sand Dreamcatcher

Route 66 - Chicago - LA 2000 miles

The details: R - California Oranges, Palm Trees and the Beach

Desert Sand and Cactus

Midwest Cattle, Plateaus and Wind

St. Louis Arch, Steamboats

City Skyscrapers

How they do this.....

At a snails pace


A new year, comes in like a child

Beautiful eyes

and out like an old man

The Business Corporate Best Sand Logo Sculpture Trophy

Leonardo Ugolini artist of Italian Sand Castle (see above photos)

Ugolinis Daydreaming sculpture

Its in the details

Under the Sea

Above the Sea (back of the Under the sea)

Off to work we go, only 90% of us

Off to work we go.....No time to dream about building sandcastles in the sky

Hot sun. Salty air. Rhythmic waves.

A little boy is on his knees scooping and packing
the sand with plastic shovels into a bright blue bucket.
Then he upends the bucket on the surface and lifts it.
And, to the delight of the little architect, a castle tower is

All afternoon he will work. Spooning out the moat. Packing the walls. Bottle tops will be sentries. Popsicle sticks will be bridges. A sandcastle will be built.

Big city. Busy streets. Rumbling traffic.

A man is in his office. At his desk he shuffles papers into stacks and delegates assignments. He cradles the phone on his shoulder and punches the keyboard with his fingers. Numbers are juggled and contracts are signed and much to the delight of the man, a profit is made.

All his life he will work. Formulating the plans. Forecasting the future. Annuities will be sentries. Capital gains will be bridges. An empire will be built.

Two builders of two castles. They have much in common. They shape granules into grandeurs. They see nothing and make something. They are diligent and determined. And for both the tide will rise and the end will come.

Yet that is where the similarities cease. For the boy sees the end while the man ignores it. Watch the boy as the dusk approaches.

As the waves near, the wise child jumps to his feet and begins to clap. There is no sorrow. No fear. No regret. He knew this would happen. He is not surprised. And when the great breaker crashes into his castle and his masterpiece is sucked into the sea, he smiles. He smiles, picks up his tools, takes his father's hand, and goes home.

The grownup, however, is not so wise. As the wave of years collapses on his castle he is terrified. He hovers over the sandy monument to protect it. He blocks the waves from the walls he has made. Salt-water soaked and shivering he snarls at the incoming tide.

"It's my castle," he defies.

The ocean need not respond. Both know to whom the sand belongs...

I don't know much about sandcastles. But children do. Watch them and learn. Go ahead and build, but build with a child's heart. When the sun sets and the tides take - applaud. Salute the process of life and go home.